Shattered Empire: In the Shadows of the Dragon Mountains

Hitomi's Arrival
Dancing with Shadows
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 134.
  • Early Summer (Month of Akodo)

The Samurai of Tio Koku settle in as the spring gives way to summer. While two allies, newly weds, of Agasha Nozomi come to see her libraries, the Clan Champion comes to address the disrespect of the governor in privet. The two come to an agreement and she orders her governor to stem the blood between their allies in the south.

Meanwhile, the visiting Agasha Tsuru (husband in the newly weds) turns out to be a sinister minion of the Lying Darkness, and it tries to kill all of the local shugenja. They are able to drive it off, before it managed it’s task.

The samurai of Tio Koku are brought into the knowledge of the Lying Darkness, but they still know very little of it or its goals.

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Battle in the Warrens
The Fangs if Tomorrow
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 130.
  • Late Spring (Month of the Sun)

The Governor decides to make a pact with the Broken Shinebone Tribe, and he chooses to make this pact secret. With only his closest of advisors aware of this alliance, a small group forms and goes to drive out the rattlings from their warren deep under Great Fall Mines.

The battle is a success and the Fangs of Tomorrow flee, but their chieftain, shaman and remember get away, as their warren guardian died in a bloody battle. The diasho of the fallen wolf is reclaimed.

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The Plague
The Ratling
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 126.
  • Late Spring (Month of the Sun)

As the Samurai of Toi Koku try and move beyond the wars occurring between their allies in the south, a new issue arrives in the thawing Dragon lands. The plague from the Clan Wars seems to have risen up in two communities. The complicate matters, Mikio is found dead on the road side, his blades missing and his body arranged in a odd way.

As the group divides their resources to best combat these issues, one group discovers a tribe of Nezumi that seems to be bent on slaying the world of man. Worse they seem to be carrying the plague and Tonbo Suzume contracts it.

The other group discovers peasants have been feeding the Nezumi, thinking they are spirits, along the way to the site of their allies death. As they find clues to his final moments and begin to track the killers, a Nezumi approaches them and offers Allaince with his tribe (The Broken Shinebone Tribe) to rid the world of an insane tribe, The Fangs of Tomorrow!

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The Battle Tested
Chapter 2 - May You Live in Interesting Times
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 122.
  • Late Spring (Month of the Sun)

The Samurai of Toi Koku are enjoying the fruits of a time of plenty and expansion across the Sinjutsu province. Marriages have resulted in children and old friends write fondly of times past as the rest of the Empire seems to be on the brink of something vast and damaging. The Dragon prepare for war, a defensive one for sure, but war none the less. While we catch up with everyone from the long three years, we find the castle nearing completion, the dojo is expanding as its fame rises, and the Koku is flowing in.

Things shake up with the arrival of Hitomi Dojin, an adviser from the Order to aid the province, and the arrival of Kitsuki Yasu who is there to review the readiness of the Dragon army in the lowlands. Agasha Meiling performs amazingly and gains a promotion to leader of the Kitsuki armies.

However not all is well with news of the Crab invasion, as they consume two minor Clans and the southern Crane lands!

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Year 1130 to Year 1133
The First Downtime

1130

  • The Crane gift Shori (lost during the Clan Wars), the Ancestral Sword of the Lion Clan – back to the Lion Clan. Thus ensuring a deeper alliance with these traditional rivals.
  • Shinjo Shirasu assumes command of the Emerald Magistrates in the Emerald Champion’s absence, although many of the Magistrates have already been in disarray and returned to their Clans with no major leadership. They begin rebuilding, with major difficulties as many Clans do not recognize Shirasu as the Emerald Champion.
  • Kakita Yoshi becomes Imperial Chancellor and Bayushi Goshiu becomes Imperial Advisor.
  • The Imperial Treasurer position becomes a desired position within the Crab, Mantis, Unicorn and Crane Clans.
  • Bayushi Aramoro’s son, Bayushi Aramasu, is fostered to Yoritomo in exchange for Mantis Clan control of the empty Scorpion Clan lands. An alliance spurned on by the Dragon’s close relationship with the Mantis (Bayushi Kenzo assisted in this deal).
  • Otomo Banu, one of the few surviving Otomo of high social rank, undertakes a political campaign to prove himself a cousin (and thus a legitimate heir) to the Hantei line. The Otomo family is forced to take this topic seriously, given his rank after the deaths of his rivals in the Imperial Winter Court.
  • The Unicorn, along with the Crab, occupy the city of Ryoko Owari in the former Scorpion lands, attempting to restore order in the wake of the near-devastation of the city by the Imperial Legions at the beginning of the Clan Wars. The city’s recovery is somewhat slow, however they do appoint Bayushi Kaukatsu as Govenor. The Unicorn firmly clamp down on the formerly prosperous opium trade.
  • During the winter court of 1130, as the competition for Imperial Treasurer is coming to its conclusion, Ikoma Tsanuri challenges and kills the Yoritomo competitor. Unable to withstand money degrading the social order of the Samurai any further, she seizes control of the Imperial City, and installs a Regent for the City to prevent further perversions of the Emperor’s legacy, and does so with Kakita Yoshi’s blessing. Bayushi Goshiu however does press the Treasurer position forward, but with her hand forced Ikoma Tsanuri chooses Isawa Osugi to take the position, despite her not even competing, but trusting in her traditional upbringing to see her do the position justice. The ‘guests’ of the Imperial City are kept safely within the walls of the city for the whole of the Winter Court.
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1131

  • When the Winter Court ends, the Lion release the city from their control, and places Matsu Koetsu as Regent of the Imperial City. As the Lion depart, they leave the Regent a sizable force to guard the city. News quickly spreads of these events, and it is met with mixed results.
  • Yoritomo begins an active campaign of piracy against the shipping of the other clans, as he attacks those who have made such obvious assaults against the Mantis. The move alienates the Fox Clan, who back away from the Mantis in response.
  • Hida Kisada dies, passing the rule of the Crab Clan to his one remaining heir, his daughter O-Ushi. As per her father’s dying request that she preserve the Hida bloodline, O-Ushi marries Shinjo Yasamura, the youngest son of the Unicorn Clan Champion. She also begins building up the Crab Clan’s naval defenses and further strengthening the fortifications of the Kaiu Wall with the windfall of the Trading with the Dragon Clan.
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1132

  • With the Fox turned away from the Mantis, Yoritomo turns his attentions of wishing for a wife away from Kitsune Ryosei. Seeing a chance to help stem the blood shed, Moshi Wakiza offers herself up to become the wife of the Mantis Champion. The Moshi family joins the Mantis Clan as a new family of the Mantis Clan, who withdralws form the waters of the Phoenix Clan.
  • The Unicorn gift the knowledge that the is within the Fox library to the Phoenix to help restore their knowledge base. In return Shinjo Morito for his efforts to give this gift, the Phoenix grant him lands that the great clan had abandoned.
  • The Mantis Clan claims Zakyo Toshi are their own, and annexes it into the Scorpion territory.
  • Isawa Hochiu becomes Master of Fire (age 12).
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1133


Faction Updates: A summery of where the Factions stand now in 1133.

  • The Crab Clan – With the death of Kisada, the Crab have begun to upgrade and refortify the wall and its defenses. They have even strengthened their harbors, and began repairing former fortifications that had been abandoned. With the Naga at their side they are said to have begun intense magic research and the training of their armies seems to be how the vast majority of the samurai are spending their time. Besides the Naga, Dragon and the Mantis, the Crab have mostly withdrawn from the rest of the Empire, focusing on their intensely costly work. They are praising their new Fortune, Kisada Fortune of Persistence, something only the Dragon have accepted outside of the Crab.
  • The Crane Clan – The Crane have been seeding the Empire with alliances, while they work to rebuild their lands and armies. The first they they saw to were their dojos, where Crane and those who have given favors to the Crane could once more resound with their time honored skills. Their artisans have been collecting political clout as well, and their gaining of the Imperial Chancellor position has been a very good feather in their cap. Their allies have been well positioned around them, and a few whisper that the Crane manipulated the Lion into their current action deftly. All of these political actions mask the fact that the Crane armies are still weak from the Clan War, however with Diadoji Uji in control of the armies even this small army is deadly. However, the attack on their shipping lanes has caused a stutter for the clan in recapturing their economic might.
  • The Dragon Clan – The Dragon Clan has fallen in line with their new Champion, however many regret the loss of the Togashi Order, especially Mitsu. However the Kagezumi (a much more militant order, a reflection of their Lady Hitomi) are often seen throughout the Dragon Lands, assisting and advising the Lords of the Dragon. Lady Hitomi wishes her order to not be so withdrawn, especially with her first actions to prepare for defensive war. She has wisely rationed out the food stores that Toi Koku has continued to gather, and often is seen about Shiro Kitsuki and the Dragonfly Lands, hearing of news from afar. She however has not visited Toi Koku.
  • The Lion Clan – Since their taking of the capital and instilling measure to make sure that the Traditions of the Empire are upheld, the Lion and their lands have been silent. Travelers are escorted by Lion guards, and there is no longer free travel for anyone within the Lion Lands. The Clan has been active in a number of courts, however, they have not returned in numbers to the Capital. With the Regent in control of the Otosqn Uchi, the Lion have gained an upper hand in the courts, although they have yet to flaunt this issue. As for the Regent himself, he says he will hold the position until a new Emperor has ascended to the throne.
  • The Mantis Clan – The Mantis have now bound their Clan together with the Wasp and the Centipede, giving them plenty of land held ares. They hold the former Scorpion held lands, but their numbers are spread thin. The few skirmishes along the Crane and Lion boarders have all resulted with Mantis victories, but their true power is on the seas, where they strike mainly at the Crane Clan. Their navel advantage may be negated on land, but they have yet to take their strife to any Clan on land, only holding their lands.
  • The Phoenix Clan – The Phoenix have largely kept to the concepts of peace in the growing stress in the Empire. However, they too have become embroiled in the conflict of the Mantis with their shipping lanes under assault. If not for the Moshi this assault would still continue. With the appointment of the Elemental Master of Fire, the Isawa continue to gain more clout. Now that they have, unexpecantly, become the Imperial Treasurers the shipping lanes being open in their lands have been a great advantage for them.
  • The Unicorn Clan – The Unicorn have largely been removed from the growing conflicts and as ever, seem dedicated towards keep the peace and laws of the Empire intact. The Lion’s actions had angered them, and they have been lobbying with little success to see the Regent and his forces removed from the capital.
  • The Scorpion Clan – The Scorpion currently hide behind a mask of the Unicorn Clan and the Mantis Clan. It is whispered in the lower societies that the Scorpion deal with issues covertly for those Clans. The scant few public faces of the Scorpion remain in key positions to better assert what political prowess they have. Their territory is not theirs in name but it is assumed that they rule from the shadows.
  • The Minor Clans – The Minor Clan Alliance is slowly unraveling, and pressing away from the Mantis.

- Badger Clan: – The Badger’s numbers swelled after the Clan Wars, and they have mostly kept to themselves further settling their lands. Their Samurai often are seen selling their services for coin.

- Centipede Clan: – Now that they have joined the Mantis, they are no longer considered a Minor Clan.

- Falcon Clan: – The spirit hunters apparently gained the wrath of a powerful spirit who took reprisal upon this minor clan. Rumor states that only a handful remain, and that they are on the verge of extinction.

- Fox Clan: – With the Mantis on the rise, the Fox have stepped away from them, but not the other Minor Clans. They are the new heart and soul of the Minor Clan Alliance. The doors to their libraries have been opened to the Phoenix, in return for the a deal made with the Unicorn.

- Dragonfly Clan: – As ever the face of the Dragon. They have enjoyed a golden age of peace and prosperity. Though the Prophecy weighs heavy on their minds. Many look at the mounting tension with apprehension, and the Champion, under the guidance of the Dragon Champion, has sent his Dragonfly out into the Empire to try and sow the seeds of peace for as long as they can.

- Sparrow Clan: – The Sparrow have been trying to do what they can for the Minor Clan Alliance, but their lands and people are not so prosperous, and what wealth they gain they must give away. The story tellers travel the lands, brining news of heroism and peace making, but also of bloodshed the more time goes on.

- Tortoise Clan: – The Tortoise have closely allied themselves with the Phoenix, as they control the treasury. They have also managed to remain unmolested by the Mantis with all their trading, which has made the Great Clans turn to them to send cargo as of late.

- Wasp Clan: – Now that they have joined the Mantis, they are no longer considered a Minor Clan.

  • The Brotherhood of Shinsei – The Brotherhood has been busy spreading the word of the New Tao of Shinsei. The monks have preached of civility and an undertone of peace, but they know well that samurai cannot help but war. As such they have begun to train with the peasants once more. The relationship between the Dragon Clan and the Brotherhood has been strained, as they took in the vast majority of the Togashi Order.
  • The Imperial Families – The Sepune have been deeply insulted by the Lion, but unable to do anything about it. The Otomo currently are in debate with one another about Banu’s claim, and the family is roughly cut in half. The Miya continue to act as messengers, and have shifted their normal tasks, and reminding very relevant.
  • The Shadowlands – Things have been very silent within the Shadowlands…
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Final Days of the Dragon Winter Court
The End of Chapter 1: Gold and Rice.
  • Everyone gained 5xp, xp count of 118.
  • Winter (Month of the Tiger)

The final day of the court with marked with the death of Matsu Kasseia, slain honorably in a duel with Yoritomo Jinbou over the slight from the wrestling contest. This sparks a tension with the Mantis and Lion. Hoshi Ryojiro chooses his wife, Doji Yakoshii, gaining an alliance with the Crane. Agasha Nyokazu aids his lords in choosing the fates of his blades and is eventually rewarded with Honorable, separating her and Bitter for the first time. Isawa Nozomi sees Shiba Niban off to finish his training with the Phoenix, Agasha Meiling agrees to the marriage with Otaku Pa-ji and Kitsuki Rokuro tells Tonbo Suzume to see to a marriage for him.

As the court ends, Togashi Hoshi steps aside, burdened by his lack of foresight and knowing of the prophesy, he gives the title of Clan Champion to Mirumoto Hitomi. The new Champion goes to end the arrangement with The Mara and her brother Mirumoto Daini – but he begs for his marriage and in a moment of mercy, Hitomi spares the Naga. Meanwhile Mirumoto Kinji goes to offer a gift to Hoshi and finds Togashi Mitsu with his former lord, with Mitsu trying to convince Hoshi of Togashi Kokujin poisoning his thoughts. Hoshi hearing none of it leaves, only to find Kokujin was watching and he orders all Togashi to swear fealty and alter their names to Hitomi. When Mitsu refuses Kokujin and he fight, with Kokujin clearly out matching the other on his ambush tactics, Kinjin breaks up the fight, and Mirumoto Akuai shows Mitsu the path of peace and changes his name to Hitomi as he cuts off his topknot. Mitsu unable to do this attacks Kokujin once more, and the dark monk throws Mitsu from the side of the cliff. Hitomi arrives and intervenes and ends the bloodshed. She demands fealty and half of the order does so, she exiles the rest. Hoshi Ryojiro is confronted by Kokujin, and almost leaves the Clan in exile, but chooses another Path in the desire to protest chooses the Kitsuki name should they have him.

Tonbo Suzume goes to see Hitomi and offers her insight, gaining the Champion’s gratitude. Finally, Nyokazu sees her and comes to understand the Obsidian Hand’s true nature and starts to work on a way to replace the object.

On the way home, Hoshi Ryojiro goes to Shiro Kitsuki and finds the Daimyo’s son Kitsuki Jusai, who offers him fealty.

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Marriages and Tensions
The Five Blades
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 113.
  • Winter (Month of the Rat)

Time passes, and mid way through the winter court, the Riddle Contest arrives. Weddings abound as the The Mara seeks allies among the Samurai of Toi Koku, Hoshi Ryojiro must spend more time with the Crane to appease a mounting rumor, and Tonbo Suzume just tries to find a moment to spend time with Ikoma Kiobito. Mirumoto Kinji steps formally into the center spot light showing off his new martial achievement which wows the court, and he balks under the all the social requirements he must endure after. Agasha Meiling meets formally with Shinjo Yokatsu and falls in line with the Unicorn Clan. Meanwhile Agasha Nyokazu starts to reviews the blades of his former incarnation, and discovers that the blades recall him – each offering a powerful message for the Dragon.

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The Wrestling Contest
Layers of Pressure
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 109.
  • Winter (Month of the Rat)

One of the first events is the wrestling contest, and two of our Toi Koku samurai are drawn into this event. Mirumoto Kinji and Hoshi Ryojiro. As the event starts, a tension filled rivalry starts with Yoritomo Jinbou and Matsu Kasseia, with one disrespecting the other. In the end it is Togashi Mitsu verse Togashi Kokujin, with the later soundly beating the other, and thus the Unicorn have the stance. Meanwhile pressure mounts as the would be brides try and claim Ryojiro’s attentions.

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First Day of Winter Court
Old Friends and Foes
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 105.
  • Start of Winter (Month of the Rat)

The first days of the Winter Court are filled with minor intrigues as the Samurai of Toi Koku define their routines while the winter court occurs. Even those who try and avoid the courtly intrigues find themselves drawn into them, as new allies and rivals have heard of many of them. Hoshi Ryojiro is on the council of advisers of Togashi Hoshi while he has three potential wives to choose from, Tonbo Suzume is a vital tool to over see marriages that everyone makes use of, Mirumoto Kinji stands ready to show off his newest technique, Agasha Meiling gets ready to meet her suitor stable master Otaku Pa-ji, Isawa Nozomi is caught with a very aggressive newly anointed Master of Earth Isawa Taeruko, Agasha Nyokazu is making many allies and must eventually confront the craftsmanship of his former life and discover the hidden secrets of Hunger, while Kitsuki Rokuro sees his first major winter court and is drawn into a love affair with Yoritomo Akyuudo.

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Walking with the Crab
Arrival to Winter Court
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 101.
  • Final Days of Autumn (Month of the Boar)

As the final days of fall approach, the Dragon prepare for winter court, and their guests who will remain with them for the next few months start to arrive. Hoshi Ryojiro gains the honor of bringing Hida O-Ushi and her retinue up with her. Along the way the Samurai of Toi Koku get a chance to visit the villages of High Slope Farms, Three Stones, Risen Fields and then cross to Shiro Mirumoto. There they meet with old friends, meet new allies and foes.

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